Tag Archives: The Girl Generation

24 Thursday, December 2015

Best wishes this holiday season from TYTW!

Before dawn, Kakenya Ntaiya leads her youngest students' English class in rural Kenya. Photo by Philip Andrews/ TYTW/ The Girl Generation.
Before dawn, Kakenya Ntaiya leads her youngest students’ English class in rural Kenya.
Photo by Philip Andrews/ TYTW/ The Girl Generation.

As 2015 comes to a close, the Too Young to Wed [TYTW] team would like to take a moment to say ‘thank you’ to our wonderful supporters and partners working with us to end child marriage around the world. You have helped us raise awareness of this crucially important issue and support the millions of girls around the world who have sacrificed their futures by becoming brides too soon. TYTW accomplished a tremendous amount in our first year of existence, and we could not have done it without you! Your commitment and support helped us:

  • Partner with the United Nations and The New York Times on a multimedia project about the devastating effects of child marriage in Guatemala. This November, nine months after the story’s publication, Guatemalan lawmakers passed legislation raising the country’s minimum age of marriage to 18!
  • Collaborate as a founding partner of The Girl Generation on a global effort to raise awareness on the issue of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). TYTW shared the powerful story of FGM survivor Kakenya Ntaiya, who was engaged at just 5-years-old but negotiated with her family to remain in school, then went on to earn a Ph.D. and open a school for girls in Kenya.
  • Partner with the Canadian government to host several global photo exhibitions, including one in Khartoum, Sudan that catalyzed the adoption of a national strategy on child marriage. TYTW also hosted photo exhibitions in the United States, Bangladesh and Argentina.

Our project in the New York Times was the paper’s most read story for the first half of February and continued to be published around the globe.
Our project in the New York Times was the paper’s most read story for the first half of February and continued to be published around the globe.

  • Exhibit in Photoville 2015, a photo extravaganza in N.Y.C. that attracted more than 76,000 visitors and featured installations, workshops and panel talks, including one with TYTW Founder Stephanie Sinclair. The event coincided with TYTW’s first print sale, which raised funds to help us provide support in communities where TYTW works.
  • Participate in the First African Girls’ Summit on Ending Child Marriage in Africa this November in Zambia, where leaders from across the African continent discussed challenges to ending child marriage (more on that in 2016!).
  • In addition, for her work covering child brides, Sinclair received the prestigious Art for Peace award at the annual Science for Peace World Conference in Milan, Italy, and the Lucie Foundation Humanitarian Award in New York – further raising the profile of the issue.

Indian student Babli Maayida, 14, refused her marriage saying, 'I want to study . . . I’m a child.' TYTW’s collaboration with the Indian NGO Center for Unfolding Learning Potential helped raise more than $40,000 for their girl empowerment programs. Photo by Stephanie Sinclair/ TYTW.
Indian student Babli Maayida, 14, refused her marriage saying, ‘I want to study . . . I’m a child.’ TYTW’s collaboration with the Indian NGO Center for Unfolding Learning Potential helped raise more than $40,000 for their girl empowerment programs.
Photo by Stephanie Sinclair/ TYTW.

While 2015 was a big year for us, 2016 looks even bigger – and with our talented and inspired team, and your generous assistance, we expect to help the world take its biggest steps yet toward wiping out this harmful practice forever.

If you would like to do more to help us in the global fight against child marriage, there is still time left to make a valuable, tax-deductible donation to Too Young To Wed before the year concludes.

Once again, thank you for standing with our girls and helping us amplify their voices so that we can make change together. From our homes to yours, we wish you a peaceful holiday season.

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16 Wednesday, September 2015

Print sale proceeds support safe house in Kenya

Eunice, 13, helps braid the hair of another resident at Samburu Girls Foundation, a safe haven for victims of female genital mutilation and child marriage. --- Newsha Tavakolian
Eunice, 13, helps braid the hair of another resident at Samburu Girls Foundation, a safe haven for victims of female genital mutilation and child marriage.
— Newsha Tavakolian

Eunice was 11 when she decided she’d had enough.

Only two weeks earlier, her father had circumcised her and forced her to marry an abusive 78-year-old man. Nursing fresh bruises from the beating she’d earned for refusing to “please” him the night before, Eunice decided to run.

With help from an uncle, Eunice found safety at the Samburu Girls Foundation in northern Kenya, which rescues girls already circumcised or prone to such mutilation. To date, the organization has rescued 200 girls like Eunice and placed 125 of them in boarding schools.

Through its membership in The Girl Generation, Too Young to Wed supports initiatives like the Samburu Girls Foundation, which keeps about 30 girls, ages 7 to 16, together in a safe house and uses donations to help the girls return to school. All the proceeds from Too Young to Wed’s inaugural print sale, which runs through Sept. 20, 2015, will be used to help Samburu Girls Foundation and several additional groups that are committed to helping child brides and victims of female genital mutilation and other harmful, traditional practices.

Prints can be ordered for $100 at tooyoungtowed.org/printsale. Each 8×10 archival print was hand-printed and signed by TYTW founder Stephanie Sinclair, whose award-winning work documenting child marriage has been exhibited around the world.

A young girl twirls in a carefree moment during laundry day at the Samburu Girls Foundation safe house in northern Kenya. Proceeds from Too Young to Wed's first print sale will benefit, which runs until Sept. 20, will benefit the foundation. --- Newsha Tavakolian
A young girl twirls in a carefree moment during laundry day at the Samburu Girls Foundation safe house in northern Kenya. Proceeds from Too Young to Wed’s first print sale, which runs until Sept. 20, will benefit the foundation.
— Newsha Tavakolian

The Samburu Girls Foundation was founded by Josephine Kulea, who considers herself one of the lucky ones. When she was about 9, her classmates began to disappear. One by one, they were circumcised and then married off to men 30 to 40 years older. Though Kulea was circumcised—like 90 percent of the girls in Samburu County—her mother resisted the family’s attempts to marry her off young, and she was able to finish her education.

She provides the same opportunity for the girls she rescues, all of whom have endured FGM and forced marriages—and in some cases crude abortions. Some are brought to the safe house by police officers or sympathetic family members. Others find their way to Kulea’s door on their own, with nothing more than the clothes on their back.

Eunice, who has continued her education, says one day she will work to put an end to FGM and child marriage.

“When I become a powerful woman in [the] future, I will ensure that young girls . . . would go to school,” she said, “and spread the gospel of stopping early marriages and female genital mutilation in Samburu.”

A longer version of this piece by Iranian photojournalist Newsha Tavakolian originally appeared on The Girl Generation’s website and was reprinted with their permission.

WAYS TO HELP

Purchase a print during this limited time: Visit tooyoungtowed.org/printsale to support our programming

Share information about Too Young to Wed and the print sale on social media and follow us there:
Twitter: @2young2wed
Instagram: @tooyoungtowed
Facebook: facebook.com/tooyoungtowed
Hashtags: #endchildmarriage #tooyoungtowed

Volunteer: Share your skills and collaborate with TYTW. For opportunities email info@tooyoungtowed.org

Too Young To Wed is a nonprofit organization qualified for tax-exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Each contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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6 Friday, February 2015

End FGM in a generation

A Kenyan activist wears a ‘Stop Gender-Based Violence’ flag during the opening ceremony of The Girl Generation in Eldoret, Kenya. --- Newsha Tavakolian for TooYoungToWed / The Girl Generation
A Kenyan activist wears a ‘Stop Gender-Based Violence’ flag during the opening ceremony of The Girl Generation in Eldoret, Kenya.
— Newsha Tavakolian for TooYoungToWed / The Girl Generation

It took a year and a half to get justice for Soheir al-Batea, the 13-year-old Egyptian girl who died after undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM) in June 2013.

Both the doctor who performed the deadly procedure and Soheir’s father were acquitted in November 2014 of causing her death, but last week, an appeals court overturned that decision, handing Soheir’s father a three-month suspended sentence and sentencing the doctor to two years in jail for manslaughter plus three months for performing the outlawed operation. The doctor’s clinic was also closed for one year.

Perhaps one of the most shocking facts about Soheir’s case was the fact that a doctor—a licensed medical professional bound by the Hippocratic oath to “do no harm”—performed the procedure that led to Soheir’s death.

In fact, more than 75 percent of the FGM performed in Egypt is carried out by doctors, despite a 2007 ban, and Egypt isn’t the only country where medical professionals violate the rights of women and girls in this manner. The so-called medicalization of FGM has occurred in Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria, Northern Sudan, Mali and Yemen, among others, despite the fact that there is no medical benefit to the procedure.

Today, as we mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, health workers all over the world are being asked not only to halt the practice in their own clinics but to actively lobby against it and provide care and support to survivors. It’s estimated that more than 140 million women and girls have undergone some sort of FGM, and, according to the United Nations, more than 18 percent of them have been subjected to the procedure at the hands of a health-care provider.

Courtesy of http://options.co.uk/
Courtesy of http://options.co.uk/

To combat those statistics, leading health organizations have joined with key human rights groups to push for an end to the practice within a generation. Among them: the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).

“It is imperative that all involved in women’s health protect the women and girls in their care and do what they can to spread awareness amongst their colleagues,” said Dr. David Richmond of the, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. “As an international medical body, we have members based in countries where FGM is still practiced, and I would urge them to uphold the Hippocratic Oath.”

Every year, 3 million girls are at risk of FGM, which can cause severe bleeding and other dangerous health consequences, including cysts, infertility, complications with childbirth and increased chance of newborn deaths. According to the UN, FGM is primarily concentrated in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, but is also prevalent in Asia and Latin America. In addition, the practice persists among some immigrant populations in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

“Stopping this terrible and violent assault on girls and young women is as relevant here in the UK as it is throughout other parts of the world,” said Cathy Warwick, chief executive of The Royal College of Midwives. “It is through working together with colleagues in other countries and applying pressure that we will end this practice.”

Gathered by the Samburu Girls Foundation, FGM survivors bond on the outskirts of Maralal, Kenya. The organisation is a member of The Girl Generation campaign to end the practice of FGM in a generation. --- Newsha Tavakolian for TooYoungToWed / The Girl Generation
Gathered by the Samburu Girls Foundation, FGM survivors bond on the outskirts of Maralal, Kenya. The organisation is a member of The Girl Generation campaign to end the practice of FGM in a generation.
— Newsha Tavakolian for TooYoungToWed / The Girl Generation

You don’t have to be a medical professional to join the fight against FGM. To participate in Zero Tolerance Day and ensure that no other girls have to suffer like Soheir:

  • Visit the new website for The Girl Generation, a global campaign that supports the Africa-led movement to end FGM, where you’ll find compelling stories and stunning photos illustrating this push for change. You can also check out their Facebook page and Twitter account.
  • Raise your voice on social media using the hashtags #EndFGM, #TogetherToEndFGM and #TheGirlGeneration.
  • Join Tostan, Girls’ Globe and Johnson & Johnson on Twitter for a live chat today at 8 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time) by following @JNJGlobalHealth and #FGCchat
  • If you’re in Kenya, keep an eye out for the “Together to End FGM” event happening today in Samburu. The Girl Generation will live tweet the event on its account, @TheGirlGen
  • Support women and girls who have been impacted by FGM by visiting forma.
  • Visit Forward, a group committed to safeguarding the rights of African girls and women and ending child marriage, FGM and obstetric fistula; the Inter-African Committee (IAC) on traditional practices, which is establishing policies to stop FGM in Africa; and the Africa Coordinating Centre for the Abandonment of FGM/C (ACCAF)
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